Monday, January 23, 2006

¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

WHO: Essa (aka Vanessa)
WHAT: Peace Corps, Environmental Education
WHERE: Nicaragua
WHEN: Sept '05 - Nov '07
WHY: La vida es un carnaval

This past week was a busy one - Gregg from MTU came to visit and to make sure I'm actually working. I guess he thought I wasn't working hard enough because he made me sit down and do volcanic cloud emissions stuff with him. On my birthday, at that!

We did go to Managua to meet with the Peace Corps office about the future Michigan Tech students and Peace Corps Nicaragua. And we also visited INETER, what would be the equivalent of the US Geologic Survey, to get maps and discuss potential collaborations. We also got sushi (that was my idea).

I had a few more meetings last week with the environmental commission and the watershed subcommittee...but no one showed up in the latter. It was better for me though, because I had the oportunity to talk one on one with the committee-head about what projects they are doing, what they want to do, and ways I might be able to help. There is lots of talk about protecting the Rio Mayales watershed, in which the city is located, and which feeds Lake Nicaragua. And it seems that the efforts are concentrated in rural areas, where agricultural activity, erosion, and deforestation have impacted the river.

This week was also my 30th birthday - (January 19th, so you can put it on your calendar for 2007). Unlike many 30 year olds, I'm pretty happy about it - I hear it should be a good 10 years... Patricia planned a party for me, which consisted of her family, Gregg, and Celine. My day started off with a bouquet of flowers the family gave me as I was leaving for my 8 o'clock meeting - the rest of the day the boys came by giving me flowers...

A troop of kids came up to my house to sweep, wash windows, and decorate with palm fronds and balloons. All the while Gregg forced me to look at graphs and satellite images...

Around nightfall, they brought up a grill to my patio and Patricia cooked up some tasty carne asada that we ate with corn tortillas and cabbage salad.

The boys avoided a candle crisis by performing a search of my house that would make any DEA agent proud. A reminder to me that nothing's sacred, nor private.

Gigglia and Willie, whose house I used to live in, came to the fiesta too - the next day they moved to Managua, though. Looking for work...

Celine and yet another Michigander trying to learn the latin dance moves...

They did like my music, salsa, merengue, bachata - the fact that I only had 2 Nicaraguan songs didn't bother them...we just played both of them every 10 minutes.

On Friday, Gregg and I walked about an hour and a half to some local hot springs. Do I live in paradise or what!? Our first exposure was scalding, so we had to go down stream. Which was good because we found some nice mud pits. Tell me I'm not glowing after the mud mask...

Thanks to everyone for the birthday greetings - Lacey, I got your package!


Blogger Cynthia & Dan said...

I very much enjoy reading your blog and consider it to be one of the best Peace Corps blogs out there. My husband and I are currently nominated for LA for Sept. 06 and so have been doing much blog reading as "research". Keep up the good work and fun and know that you have fans back home!

Happy Birthday!


8:13 AM  
Blogger Essa said...

Gracias Cynthia!

It's great to know people are reading my blog!I wish you the best in getting through the peace corps application process - may be the toughest part of the toughest job you'll ever love.

Once you get your blog up - let me know!


4:33 PM  

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